If you’re a Windows Server 2012 R2 user and you use the Essentials Experience role (same features as the standalone SKU) in a multi domain controller (DC) environment, you may have noticed that the wizards for integrating with Office 365 and Windows Azure Active Directory are disabled. This is because they were designed to function in a single DC environment.
Today, Microsoft has corrected this behavior as part of update rollup 2975719. If you install this update rollup, you should now be able to use the wizards as intended.
More info: Update Rollup August 2014 | Office 365 Integration KB
I am very pleased to announce that Microsoft has chosen me to be a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for the 4th year in a row. As many of you may know, I have been an MVP for Windows Home Server. However, with the discontinuation of Windows Home Server, I have been chosen to be an MVP for Windows Server for Small and Medium Business.
I am honored to have been chosen, and I look forward to all the amazing community work ahead in 2014.
Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2014 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Windows Server for Small and Medium Business technical communities during the past year.
As some of you may have noticed, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials no longer includes media streaming functionality out of the box. This feature existed in the non-R2 version, as well as previous versions, dating all the way back to Windows Home Server v1.
Instead of keeping this feature in the base product, Microsoft have released the Media Streaming Pack for Windows Server 2012 R2.
The Media Streaming Pack adds media streaming functionality to Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials as well as those Standard and Datacenter servers running the Essentials Experience role.
The following features are included:
- Streaming of media (photos, music and videos) to DLNA-compliant receivers
- Smooth streaming to HTML5-compliant browsers through Remote Web Access and web service applications
- Configuration through the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard
The Media Streaming pack is a free download from Microsoft and is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40837
Today, Microsoft has released the RTM Windows Server 2012 R2 bits to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.
Microsoft has said that they will be continuing to improve the product between now and General Availability in October.
Windows Server 2012 R2 brings a ton of awesome new features from refinements in Server 2012 R2 Essentials, to the Windows Server Essentials experience, improved support for BYOD with Work Folders and Active Directory, Storage Tiering in Storage Spaces, and many other awesome features.
To learn more about What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2, I suggest visiting the TechNet Library, and reading Brad Anderson’s blog about the new features.
For the build curious amongst us, the build string for Windows 8.1 RTM is 9600.winblue_rtm.130821-1623. The SHA1 hashes for the ISO have been posted below along with steps to check the integrity of the downloaded ISO.
Hashes for today’s release:
To run MSCDCRC against an ISO file that you have downloaded follow these steps.
- 1. Download MSCDCRC to the same folder that you downloaded the ISO to. (Click here to download MSCDCRC)
- 2. Open a Command Prompt window and navigate to the folder from Step 1
- 3. Type “MSCDCRC InstallDVD.iso” (without quotes)
- 4. The integrity check will take a few moments to complete. After the check is complete compare the CRC and SHA hashes to the hashes posted above
In this R2 wave of Windows Server products, Microsoft is taking the time to update its “first server” version, Windows Server 2012 Essentials.
The Essentials SKU historically has been intended to be the entry level server for a small or midsize business. With Essentials R2, Microsoft is extending this feature set into the enterprise. Because the Essentials feature set is now an available role in the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2, companies with more than 25 users can backup their PCs, seamless integrate with cloud services or on-premise Exchange servers, and provide remote access to company data.
Besides the Essentials features now being available as a role, there are number of additional new features.
- Full PC Restore over the network is now supported
- Mobile Devices can be managed in the dashboard using Exchange ActiveSync
- Quotas can be set on shared folders in the dashboard
- The client connector can trigger a VPN connection so clients can always be connected to the network
- Now supported as a member server in a domain
- Health monitoring and reporting is now built-in
- Remote Web Access theme now follows in the style of SkyDrive
What I like about this release is that its the small things that really make it all come together. There is now an option in configuring the remote access website to allow direct RDP access to the server or only access to the dashboard. PXE boot restores of client computers is awesome and is something I’ve been asking for since the Windows Home Server days. The dashboard now lets customers integrate with Office 365, Windows Intune, and Windows Azure Backup. BranchCache is now supported as well. If a company has multiple servers, the connector will now let users switch between them.
These are just a few of the many examples of what Microsoft has brought to the R2 release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be posting some tours of the new functionality.
If you’ve been keeping up with Microsoft related news, you’ve probably heard that Microsoft announced new features in Windows Azure, announced Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2014. For many of these products, they are here less than a year after their predecessors. This is a huge accomplishment for Microsoft.
According to a blog post published by Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President for Windows Server and System Center, Microsoft is able to do this because they are building for the cloud first.
By building for the cloud first, Microsoft says that they are able to do couple things:
- Battle harden what is built. By deploying in Windows Azure first, Microsoft can ensure that they are delivering a solid product both in the cloud and on-premise.
- Unify the planning and delivery across multiple products. With this wave of releases, Microsoft has brought together Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, Windows Azure, and Windows Intune.
What this means for you as a Microsoft customer is that scenarios are being designed for better integration end-to-end, using real world feedback from people like you and I, and validated in the Windows Azure cloud.
It’s an exciting and interesting time for both Microsoft and its customers. I’m encouraged by the products I’m seeing and the scenarios that are being unlocked.
Microsoft has released the public preview of Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials is Microsoft’s “first server” solution.
Included in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials are:
- Backup of client computers
- Support for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 File History
- Support for Storage Spaces
- Remote Web access to files, folders, and computers
- Remote Domain Join
- New Modern-style app for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 for accessing files and folders stored on the server
- Integration with Office 365 or on-premise Microsoft Exchange
- Improved dashboard
- and more!
To download the preview of Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205288.aspx
For additional resources go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205289